“Women Unite, Take Back the Night.”

This week was by far my favorite of the year: Take Back the Night Week.   It was the 32nd year that Ohio University women banded together to fight for safe streets. Personally, it was my second.  Throughout the week,  student organizations held different events ultimately leading up to the march.

Last year was the first time I had participated in Take Back the Night and it was an experience I will never forget.  Hundreds of women gathered together to support the fight against sexual and domestic violence, but it went far beyond just a gathering.  The night started off with numerous speakers, putting  faces to the pandemic that we strive to eliminate.  These stories are enough to make people wonder, how many people do we know that are struggling with this?  I personally know  many who have been a victim, a survivor, of sexual and domestic violence.   The stories are  enough to give you goosebumps.  The statistics alone, the fact that one in four of the college women that gathered there last year and again tonight will be the victim of attempted or completed rape. It is a tragedy.

But it is the march that really gets you. The power a group of women holds, their voices as their weapon, trying to fight something society so easily accepts as a part of life.  Here we are, college- aged women, and we cannot even walk alone at night. It is something that is even hard to imagine — total freedom.  As I and hundreds of women marched through the streets, revealing our power to others, if even only for that hour each year, it is enough to spark an emotion  that will last forever.  The feeling of sisterhood, of finally speaking out, it is something you can’t find anywhere else than in the brisk night air in the presence of others fighting the same fight.

I must say though, that events like this make me wonder. How can women come together so strongly then return back to their individual groups as if solidarity had never occurred?  But even more importantly how will that help us? I hope that if this night is a glimpse into the power women can have when they unite, that someday every woman will realize it. As for taking back the night, well, there is a lot that needs to be done before we can look at the stars again.

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